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Really Good Denim (+ The Non-Skinny Jeans That I Like Including My New Favorite Barrel-Shape)

I am of the demographic that feels frustrated when what is “in” looks decidedly bad on many of us (IMHO). So many of my friends are with me, thinking “Wait, what pants are we actually supposed to wear now that skinny jeans are ‘less cool'” (Although rumor has it that skinny capris are coming back ladies!!! Thanks to Meghan of Harry and Meghan!). While I can see with my internet reading eyes that baggy dad jeans are in, y’all I’m not convinced they should be. Let me be very clear: YOU DO YOU (obviously). And I see Athena Calderone pull off the baggy jeans trend SO WELL, but that’s not how I feel when I am in MOST of them. So I had intentions to wait this one out and not engage, wear my favorite athleisure, and not leave the house until 2025. But lo and behold, I’ve had all these fashion partnerships just for social which kinda forced me to try on some new jeans and I’m happy to report that some of these are both “in” and look good. MAMAS STILL GOT IT (???)

Top | Jeans | Purse (similar) | Boots

These jeans are REAL CUTE. The cut and the width of the bell are so fun and the frayed bottom keeps it in 2024. They are still fitted in the crotch and upper thigh which gives your frame a modicum of shape if that’s your thing. The waist is pretty stretchy, FYI 🙂

Sweater | Jeans | Boots

My much younger team (who dresses more hip and cool than I do) loved these jeans on me and I agreed that they looked pretty darn good for not being “skinny”. They are medium-rise (not crazy high) and the waist is the perfect amount of constriction and comfort. They hold their shape really well and the wash is a great color. I like to wear them with a little heel versus chunky cross-trainers (which I know is in, but again not my thing). BTW that sweater is SO CUTE and a really cute cut – it’s cropped, comes in at the waist in a really great way, has a dropped sleeve, and is nice and lightweight.

Jacket | T-Shirt | Jeans | Boots

Here’s another shot of these Madewells that just launched. They have a bunch of new denim and wanted me to try these. FYI I never post anything I don’t like on me, even if it’s super cute, and yes even if I’m being paid to promote a brand. If I don’t feel good in it, I go back to the store and find something I do feel good in.

My Favorite New Cut

Denim Vest | T-Shirt | Jeans | Boots

I was a massive fan of the Cali denim from Madewell (and still am). And these are their new cut that has a very similar cut and stretch, but with a little kick-out crop at the bottom (thus being able to claim that it’s not a skinny jean). Y’all this new cut is SO GOOD – I feel so great in them and they are slimming through the leg (which skinny jeans did so well) but they are cropped and kick out into a bell at the bottom thus giving it a more modern shape. I got this pair for the partnership then bought the lighter denim because I think I’ll be wearing these A LOT. Again, they have a really good constriction/comfort waist which flattens without being so uncomfortable (like Levis that have no stretch and you can’t really sit down in them).

The Cutest Denim Shirt Dress

Denim Dress | Clogs (similar)

Y’all. I love my loose chambray dresses, but this one (which is thicker but not crazy thick or too hot) is so cute. It’s definitely a “throw on and look professional/cool instantly while still being comfortable”. The cut really mimics a men’s shirt (the sides come up and the sleeves are dropped).

Denim Dress | Purse | Clogs (similar)

I wore these clogs with this dress for the Madewell partnership, but I think I’d likely wear it with sneakers or something a little more delicate (like my kitten-heeled boots). And you guys better screenshot this immediately – this may be the first non-spray-tanned legs I’ve shown here (although TBH I still had a little bit on from 4 days prior). My daily cold plunging is really screwing with my weekly spray/self-tanning addiction (feel free to write that on my gravestone). It’s a huge life challenge that I’m currently trying to overcome!

Shirt | Purse | Jeans | Sandals

These jeans are new, cool, from The Great, and have the perfect bleach frayed bottoms and button fly. Splurgy but I love them. The top is perfect for spring – almost sweatshirt weight, but a little lighter.

Blouse | Purse | Jeans | Boots

These are the famous Colette pants in denim from Anthropologie that come in a million washes and colors (and multiple people in my life have told me they are their favorite jeans ever). I get the hype now and I can tell you the #1 reason why they are so popular – front square pockets are really really flattering. Also, that blouse is so cute.

Sweater | Jeans | Boots

I mean, this is a clear winner here, and my crotch agrees (so much room – you can even sit in these pants!!). Last year for our rugs launch I splurged on the original version of these (which should get credit, from Nili Lotan, the famous Shon pants are incredible and I have them in blue cotton and khaki, too). But I don’t think I even put them on the blog because they are so expensive. So, we’ve been eagerly awaiting a more affordable version these are good and y’all, not all are good. BTW Kaitlin LOVES these Everlane jeans that keep selling out, but the point is – these Anthropologie pants are SO GOOOOOOOOD. Somehow the bow-legged shape is still flattering because it still has a shape (not just baggy) and plays with proportions.

And there we go 🙂 My favorite new cropped/kick out, my new more affordable barrel-shaped jeans, and super comfy and cool (and maybe not as flattering) frayed bottom jeans.

*Photos by Kaitlin Green

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1 month ago

I was not at all sorry to see skinny jeans depart the stage but I’ve got to say this barrel jeans trend might be even worse. I’ve tried on multiple pairs and they all just look silly on me. So that’s a huge NO for me. Best jeans I bought lately were, believe it or not, from the men’s department at the Gap: 90s Loose Carpenter jeans. Thick, comfortable, flattering. Men’s dept for the win.

1 month ago
Reply to  LouAnn

I had a pair of men’s gap carpenter jeans in the 90’s that I loved. I was just thinking about them with the emergence of the 90’s being everywhere in fashion. I’ll have to check out the Gap’s men’s department to see if the new version are just as good.

1 month ago

Clearly showing my age here but skinny jeans 4 evaaaa!!! I’m short 5’2 and curvy. All these styles are frumptastic on my body. A hard no. Emily looks great but I just can’t.

Lisa Perry
1 month ago
Reply to  Lauren

Right there with you, 5’2″ and hourglass and it’s a hard no for volumious frumpy pleated blech.

1 month ago

The next Fix It Friday:

1 month ago

For petite ladies, I highly recommend LOFT jeans. They are sized appropriately with the correct inseam (25-27 inches, depending on the style) Their Girlfriend style fits similar to a boyfriend cut but it’s not overwhelming on a small frame. Lots of brands claiming to be petite actually aren’t because the inseam is too long. I’m 156 cm (5’1) and 130 lbs (58kg). Designer jeans are ridiculously expensive so I get mine used on eBay. I like Paige Denim and DL1961.

Lisa Perry
1 month ago
Reply to  Alexis

I agree, they do work for me, too. 5’2″ curvy fit.

1 month ago
Reply to  Alexis

I concur! I like that they offer different rises also. I am 5′ and just cannot take having lots of heavy (jean) fabric flopping around my legs. I don’t mind lighter weight fabric in the wide-length looks though (linen/linen-blend). Alex Mill’s cotton pants (like the Neil) work for me (after alterations). I have not purchased any of their jeans.

Lisa Perry
1 month ago

Oh girl, I have been lurking on your blog for four years now and as a retired wardrobe/props stylist this is the first time I’ve been compelled to comment. I am in my late sixties so have lived through wait, I’m still counting on my fingers, five, I think, decades of denim. I am here to report that body shape should be the defining factor re: denim style. Please. I have also been sobbing about the demise of skinny jeans because I still give a F re: fashion. But: I am a petite, extreme hour glass with big boobs and I know that dad/mom/baggy/pleated whatever jeans will make me look like the matronly slob I refuse to be seen as. So I am sticking to cropped because, I dunno, it makes me look taller (and no I don’t know why today) slim fit, and for all you other small curvy types, high waisted, wide leg jeans. I do like the Levi’s wedge cut. One of the best/only things about getting older and living through several decades of fashion is that yes, blah blah blah it all comes around again (hah, ask me about the eighties someday). Anyway, thanks Emily.

30 days ago
Reply to  Lisa Perry

The ’80s! Gotta say I did love my parachute pants and Forenza sweaters! And it’s pretty fun to see my daughter shop my closet and go from “Ew, Mom, gross” to “Oh, Mom, can I have those?” as the trends change!

Julie S
1 month ago

I like several of these including the kick out crop jeans on you, Emily, although they look like a slim straight cut in your photos (not on the website where they look like unhappily short flares to my eye). For me, slim straight jeans that are not tight on the calves and ankle length seems to be where I’ve landed as my jeans cut of choice. I’m rather thin and short at 5’2″ and I never quite got on board with skinny jeans because my calf muscles are really slim, so my lower legs just looked disproportionately toothpick-y. Straight leg or slim straight offers a more balanced look to my lower half. Other than looking moderately put together, I don’t care much about fashion trends and stick with simple things I like and feel comfortable in! So glad shirts are getting short waisted again tbh. It was hard to find tops good for my shape for a long time, especially sweaters!

30 days ago

Agree, the current trend is “upside down” for my build (and my wardrobe)! I look better in a longer, less fitted top (ugh, boobs) with a slimmer bottom, but I recently bought the jcrew ‘slim wide leg’ in white and the fit is super cute AND comfortable! (I have a wider waist and slim hips for reference.) The Madewell Perfect Vintage wide leg has a similar fit and the black has a lot of stretch so I love those, too. I will forever be a ‘slim straight fit with a longer top’ lover, but the two styles I mentioned are a fun change without being too trendy if you want to give it a try!

29 days ago

There’s a dupe of the bag that’s in the first shot at Target. Checkerboard, fits a big phone, $35. Run!